Noises coming from Downing Street would have you believe that here is a Government committed to Brexit in its purest form. A government that has refused to extend the transition period. A government that intends to focus the minds of negotiators in Brussels to conclude a deal as early as next month.
Following the resumption of face to face parleys at the start of the week, indeed the mood music coming from the Prime Minister is undaunted, uncompromising and unapologetically advocating full fat freedom. But we’ve been here before. Peel back the swashbuckling spin and what lies beneath is the same wretched set of arrangements Boris Johnson once protested as vassalage.
Back in the whirlwind of the snap election, the Brexit Party pushed for everyone to prise open the pages of the Political Declaration and examine Johnson’s purportedly ‘new’ deal. But the same vim and vigour with which its predecessor was torn apart fell away as the ballot drew near.
The Labour Party knew they would haemorrhage votes if they mentioned the B word. The Conservatives bet their hand on a ‘win’ over Brussels to break the logjam in the Commons. Even the Brexit purists refused to get caught in the maelstrom of technical detail, perhaps hungry for cabinet careers, fearful that Brexit might be overturned or persuaded that the nasty detail could get fixed later.
The deal he called vassalage months before had simply been swaddled in shiny paper. The almost unscathed Withdrawal Agreement has now morphed into a legally binding international treaty through which we must part with at least £39 billion in divorce settlement while the Commission now claims , our share ramped up by £300m to cover the costs of the EU’s response to Covid-19.
三级成人视频The agreement frivolously discarded our entitlement to £7.5bn profits from the European Investment Bank, netting only our initial £3bn stake, while snaring us in up to £500 billion of contingent liabilities. If there was an economic disaster in the EU, not so improbable in the wake of a global pandemic, British taxpayers could be called upon to pay a bill weighing in at around a quarter the size of our national GDP.
The dreaded backstop, deployed by silver haired and tongued EU broker Michel Barnier to bind the UK to the EU’s rules for competition, state aid and customs duties, was supposedly curtailed to Northern Ireland. We were repeatedly assured the new text would not put a border down the Irish Sea. Not only does it do just that, it casts a net over pan-UK companies to abide by EU laws on State Aid under dynamic alignment.
Just as goods coming to Britain from Calais will require declarations, so will goods from Northern Ireland. By handcuffing one of our hands to the Irish border, the flexibility to trade with the world on our own terms suddenly diminishes.
三级成人视频Worse still, the EU’s court remains the ultimate arbiter of the Protocol and enforcement of it. The red herring of a Stormont vote to scrap it would simply precipitate the legal imposition of a facsimile, with Brussels having the final nod.
三级成人视频Knowing that the die is cast on the above, Barnier now cites the Political Declaration at every opportunity. Watch him. He does not miss an opportunity to put "on the record" that Boris signed-up to the Political Declaration and the EU fully expects the Prime Minister to deliver the grotesque elements it contains: the level playing field covering state aid, employment, climate, competition and environment laws, even taxation expectations and, of course, access to our waters.
三级成人视频To deviate would invite Barnier to accuse the UK of failing to use our "best endeavours in good faith and in full respect of their respective legal orders, to take the necessary steps to negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship referred to in the political declaration" - to quote the snappy sentence in the binding Withdrawal Agreement. The UK is moving the goalposts, he repeats.
三级成人视频The supposedly innocuous Political Declaration, which Boris dismissed as not legally binding, is far from a disposable document to Barnier. He is doubtless demanding in his conspiratorial epistles with penpals in the Palace of Westminster that the Withdrawal Agreement ties us to those promises.
This will all boil down to whether Boris could be construed as a "good faith" actor. We must all make up our own minds on that.
Alexandra Phillips and Ben Habib are both former Brexit Party MEPs. Habib is now